Paper Trails

The Enemy Among Us!
In the wake of the Oklahoma bombing, Mayor Frank Jordan has asked the city's Office of Emergency Services (OES) to join with other local, state and federal agencies to upgrade "security" in San Francisco, particularly for the upcoming "U.N. 50" celebration.

It is an assignment the OES relishes.
If the OES building on Turk Street looks something like a bunker, then its inhabitants must feel right at home. Its three top staffers all spent a career in military uniform, and one in particular has served time in the shadow world where Oliver North found a base of support.

The OES staff is headed by retired Rear Admiral John Bitoff, with retired Lt. Col. Carl Hedleston and retired California National Guard General Frank Schober riding shotgun.

For the past 11 months, the three have spent many days rewriting the rewrites of worst-case-scenario disaster response plans from the Feinstein era -- including the contingency plan for "Civil Disturbances." This document, which has never before been subject to public review, was released recently under a Sunshine and Public Records Act request.

The document itself is a bunker's-eye view of San Francisco, and urges new intelligence gathering on San Francisco's diverse communities. The report, which is still being updated and is slated to undergo review by designated members of the Board of Supervisors, states:

"The urban environment brings together in relative proximity diverse societal groups with [a] wide spectrum of interests which are not necessarily compatible or of a local nature .... If behavior created by these attitudes becomes disruptive to the fabric of the City, City leadership must be prepared to react in an appropriate manner."

"Protection against terrorist attacks is limited to the degree of preparation or planning for them. Intelligence gathering capabilities should be enhanced to thwart the attempt of terrorism," the advisory notes.

"The City's leadership must be sensitive, as well as alert, to attitudes and changes of attitude that occur on a continuing basis. Inherent to this sensitivity is the need for the development of various sources of information that could provide indicators of potential disruptive activity."

Developing "various sources of information that could provide indicators of potential disruptive activity" and enhancing "intelligence gathering capabilities" on the domestic front may sound like a throwback to the paranoid McCarthy era, but then again, the OES staffers have the credentials necessary for such an exercise in time travel.

Hedleston, for example, provides a rŽsumŽ that shows he formerly was the development director for the "National Defense Council Foundation," which he describes in his resume as "a unique, action-oriented, conservative research and education foundation."

This is one case where a resume doesn't lie.
The National Defense Council Foundation was chaired by Rep. Robert Dornan (R-California), 1996 presidential candidate from the loony wing of Southern California, and NDC advisers have included the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine and retired Maj. Gen. "Jack" Singlaub, former head of the World Anti-Communist League.

"There's a good reason the media is covering us," one of the group's 1985 fundraising pitches went. "The National Defense Council is the only group actively operating in many of the 'hot spots' in Central America .... The National Defense Council goes to places where our government relief people can't, or will not go."

"But don't get us wrong, NDC isn't simply some knee-jerk do-gooder organization. We very definitely want to help these people, but we have a selfish political motive as well."

The NDC thrived in the Reagan years when groups formerly on the fringe entered Washington's mainstream. Reagan himself signed a fundraising pitch for the group, and Dick Cheney, a Republican member of Congress and later secretary of defense, served on its board. The NDC advocated U.S. entry into limited wars across the globe, from Africa to Central America, and was closely involved in many of those conflicts.

In an earlier incarnation, the group had been known as "The Committee to Stop OSHA," and during one of its phases the members of its board overlapped with that of Western Goals, a group whose mission was to maintain domestic surveillance records after the demise of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Western Goals made a modest amount of news in 1985 after one of its sources turned out to be a Los Angeles Police Department member who had spirited 10,000 police intelligence files into his garage for Western Goal's computer operation. A court found this to be a serious no-no.

Hedleston was recruited by a former Pentagon buddy, Andrew "Snake Oil" Messing, a retired Green Beret who was close friends with Oliver North. Messing's name entered into the Iran-contra scandal when the Tower Commission released an April 18, 1985, typewritten memo on National Security Council stationery by Fawn Hall, Oliver North's White House secretary, that included a handwritten note linking Messing's name with the words "funds," "weapons" and "Western Goals." Hall's memo stated, "We are all working tirelessly to educate the American people on why it is so important to help the Nicaraguan freedom fighters. There are many people who believe in the cause of freedom and democracy, but far fewer who are willing to act to support it."

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